[Breaking] Sasuralwale to include husband in dowry death cases

Dowry harassment cases and dowry death cases are increasing now a days. In the recent case ofRajesh Kumar Kaushik v. State of Chhattisgarh, the question came before the Honourable High Court of Chhattisgarh was, whether; the term Sasuralwale includes husband and his relatives,while deciding dowry death cases.

The instant case was an appeal filed by the husband (appellant), challenging the trial court judgment, which convicted him from the charges of Section 498A and 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860, (for the offence of abetment of suicide of the deceased in a case of dowry death) and acquitted his father and mother, who were co-accused in the present case.

However, court while upholding the conviction of the appellant under Section 498A and 304B ofIndian Penal Code, 1860, the bench (Single Bench) of T.P. Sharma J, held that, if the husband and his relatives are generally residing under the same roof, then the term Sasuralwale is wide enough to include husband and his relatives.

Appellant relaying upon the Supreme Court judgment in Prem Kumar v. State of Rajasthan, contented that, if two accused are acquitted by the trial court on the basis of same set of evidence, the same shall be applied to the appellant as well.

Appellant also draw the attention of the court that, by virtue of the apex court judgment in Prem Kumar v. State of Rajasthan, there must exist proximate and live link between effect of cruelty based on dowry demand and concerned death in case of dowry death.

Though the High Court upheld the trial court judgment, which convicted the appellant under Section 498A, and Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, court altered the conviction of the appellant under Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code to Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. It was based on the finding that, the evidence adduced on behalf of the prosecution was sufficient to prove that, the husband (appellant) has abetted the suicide of his wife; however, said evidences were not sufficient to prove that, the husband has caused the dowry death.

Read full judgement of Rajesh Kumar Kaushik v. State of Chhattisgarh decided on 20-02-2015, (Chhattisgarh High Court)

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